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Jeff, You Ignorant .....

(November 15, 2005) (Apologies to Aykroyd.)

In an article called Good Training, Bad Software, old friend Jeff Hunter opines:

Here's a good rule of thumb for people thinking about buying a piece of technology: the more training it takes to use it, the worse it is. And by "worse" I mean you will be saying "This stinks!" within a month of implementation.

Jeff, one of a few great folks in our business, is sitting in the "Czar of Recruiting Technology" chair over at Electronic Arts. After a decade long stint as an entrepreneur in the industry, Jeff has committed the career time required to learn the innards of the consulting business and, now, internal Recruitng operations. At EA, he faces a real recruiting challenge: finding suitable labor for an industry (gaming) that has outstripped the national supply of skilled workers. You can see (from his blog) that he is learning rapidly and covering bases of importance to all recruiters.

Jeff is in one of those positions where you can see more of the elephant than most of us (remember, blind wisemen and elephants?). Jeff has built software and is now buying it. He, with some justification, thinks that he sees the entire elephant (most of us do, don't we?). Here's our translation of his opinion.

It is no longer possible to afford software that meets user requirements. The needs of users have become so sophisticated that the only chance an installation will work is if it includes massive amounts of training. In other words, software is dead.

So, we posted a comment on Jeff's blog (we hardly ever do that but the argument is an important one):

"Interesting posture for the ex-honcho of Intellimatch. I, of course, beg to differ strongly.

Software is dead and not poised for a second coming. It has become a medium precisely for the reasons you outline. The ERP vendors did not make bad software, they just discovered the limits of the applicability of automation.

Software supports and facillitates processes in an organization. To expect it to automate and simplify transactions that are all individual and unique is to expect that it can perform beyond its abilities.

Service delivered as an adjunct to a software platform is a good thing, the wave of the future, and the consequence of the automating we've done to date."

Jeff responded later in his blog with a post called "Software is Dead, Long live Software" which makes the case that "Software is not only alive and kicking, it is still in it infancy.".

The present software model is indeed terminally ill. It may take 30 years to kick the bucket but it is without question that the days of installing large software applications behind the firewall, developing large staff functions to maintain them and running the business by the fiat of whatever package the IT department agrees to fund will be a decreasingly viable model. The Salesforce.com model (which I will be writing about in a future post) is the direction that the software business is headed. The "software as service" model is very dependent on a strong services lead to the services / software mix, with the software forming the foundation of the knowledge capture and development offered by the services.

The problem is that software can not be used to automate rote microscopic procedures on an individual basis. It's simply too expensive. By suggesting that software can indeed drive additional organizational benefits, Jeff is toe-ing the Silicon VAlley company line. Unfortunately, there are no examples of profitable businesses in this arena. It's theory and poppycock.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Don't forget to check out the blogs on bert or the Bugler.

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         © 2013 interbiznet.
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         Materials written
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